PRODUCTION – Shyam Bora & Vicky Mathur
How did you manage the film production within the biggest gathering on earth?
Planning was the key to the execution of this film production. Although we only had a few days as prep time, we immediately structured the plan, and started executing the major production concerns: securing accommodation, arranging catering for the crew, acquiring official permits, crew travel, equipment transport…. The goal was to have every production detail in order before the first shot is taken.
More importantly, we had a very self sustaining crew, working tirelessly for 2 to 3 shifts in 24 hours to make the film happen. We were shooting day and night, only when it rained heavily, were we forced to take a break!
What were the major challenges you faced while filming?
There were plenty of challenges – from coordinating between the different shooting units who were following individual stories amongst the million devotees to tackling the highly unpredictable Sadhus !!! Each day threw up a different challenge to the team.
After about a few weeks of non-stop shoot, it rained so heavily that the entire Mela grounds were flooded. Suddenly, the entire Mela area was empty with everyone leaving because of the continuous downpour. Call it fate, we were lucky enough not to lose ALL our characters/stories except one –Kishen Tiwari!
Then the hardest part was to finding Kishen, and Sonu & Mamta Devi’s lost son. Having continuously followed their search for their missing son, it was hard not to be affected and overwhelmed by their tragedy. Even we got involved with the search as our entire crew, together with the family approached over many days the police, the army, local administration and others to find the missing child.
Did any of the crew members get lost during the shoot?
Thankfully, we had our walkie-talkies to communicate. And luckily, they never failed us. However, one has to experience 50 million people within a radius of 55 sq. km on a single night (Mauni Amavasya, the most auspicious day at the Kumbh) to understand what it really means to get lost in a crowd!!!
Tell us more about the post-production of the film which was spread across India and France.
In modern times, one has to keep international co-productions in mind. Besides, the Director and the Producers wanted the best of the best for Faith Connections. Thus, post-production of the film spread from India to France. Not only that, the music composer Cyril Morin started composing in Los Angeles, followed by Music recording in Paris... In no time we were an international production!